My guitar path began around the age of 16 when I heard about VALLEY ARTS from a friend of mine that took guitar lessons there. I was looking for a quality 12 string and not only found this guitar but found a major influence on the rest of my life. The first VA show room was so small that 5 people filled it up but the friendly atmosphere and great feelings were already there. I found myself going there and “hanging out” after school and when the time came to make the famous move to Ventura Blvd, I was there. After I graduated from High School I asked if I could work there for awhile till I decided what I was going to do, not knowing that WAS what I would do for the next 17 years. This time of my life was filled with some of the greatest highs and lowest lows of ones life but I have never had regrets.
When Samick took control of VA (the summer of 1992), I soon left and started my own company, WORLD ARTS. For the next 10 years I represented many great companies around the world. Giving me more insight into what guitar players wanted and needed.
Now many years later, I live in beautiful Upstate New York and do guitar repair and guitar crafting (De Erro Guitars) in a historic location. But never have the great memories of VA left. I still receive many emails with questions about VA and thanks for being a part of many great instruments, desires and wishes of so many people around the world.
We are bringing to you these pages of resources and interaction for you to know as much about your original VALLEY ARTS GUITAR as possible. Over my 30 plus years in the guitar industry, I have seen many companies come and go and correct information always seems to be lost. With this website, we will all keep this from happening.
I also wish to thank all of you for many great years of memories and friendships …
The newbie on the scene, taking over and helping keep this wonderful resource alive. Martin’s brainchild, the registry and information repository for these great (understatement) guitars.
One of my first concerts ever (I’m a concert going fool) – In 1961 – I saw Duane Eddy when I was 14, at a small hall called The Showboat in Lake Benton, Mn., and he was so incredibly cool, with that low slung guitar – Totally Bad-A, no smiles, and I had to do this thing (I also got his autograph that night). I started playing the next day with my brother’s broken acoustic, and the parents bought me one of those Silvertone’s with the amp in the case for the next Christmas.
I lost that Duane Eddy autograph in a move probably 50 years ago, and always been so sad that I didn’t still have it – it was so instrumental to me getting into guitar. Just last week (October 2020) my son and I were going thru some trunks in the garage, and – guess what I finally found!!!
I had a few teenage bands, when I was young, and figured out guitar players could get chicks. But then at around 22, I put the guitar down for too many years. My young son (3 at the time) rekindled my interest almost 10 years ago, when he asked me to “Daddy show me how this works”, about my 67 Rickenbacker, the only guitar I still had. I’m a mediocre man cave player at best, and my field is web programming and building sites, and running a retail business that has nothing to do with guitars. I am FAR from any kind of “expurt” on these guitars. I will have to defer regularly to Martin’s vast knowledge of everything VA.
But in the next few years I bought and sold probably 25 guitars, Contemporary MIJ Strats, Teles, which I still have 5 of.
But my VA story started in just 2013, when I saw a Larry Carlton youtube of Don’t Give It Up, and I asked the question on strat-talk “What kind of guitar is Larry playing here?” (It was a white VA strat with body decal) And that sparked my interest as I nearly worship the ground Larry walks on.
So I bought my first, a “California Pro” which I found out from Martin that it was a VA neck on a Samick body. But I still loved the feel, and started searching for everything I can find on Valley Arts. I found a mint white Standard Pro (0202) in a pawn shop in Idaho, and bought that next. I’ve had the Larry Carlton VA Advertisement on the wall in my office for a couple years, hoping to find one, so recently I sold that first VA/Samick hybrid recently to help fund 2 (yes two) Larry Carlton Models. And I own another early transition model (VA02761) still built by the VA guys.
So again, I don’t have 2% of the knowledge of Martin, and my primary job in this Labor of Love will be updating and maintaining the registry and the web site. Please forgive me if (when?) I make mistakes and please gently point them out to me.
Now, in building this site, I just discovered Duane Eddy was a Valley Arts fan! Isn’t that a kewl coincidence??
But here’s Larry (with the great Tal Farlow) throwin’ down on that unidentified guitar: